Northern Fishermen Group opposes fisheries regulations – Love FM
Fishermen in Sarteneja village in Corozal district are also angry at the new fishing regulations. Journalist Giovanna Moguel spoke to the angry fishermen.
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: A group of fishermen from the northern coastal community have come forward to express their dissatisfaction with new fishing regulations, which include banning them from catching lobsters with a tail weight of less than 4.5 ounces and changes the specification of the number of traps allowed per fisherman, fishing vessels and the areas where they are allowed to be deployed. A fisherman from Sarteneja, Neftali Verde, explained that he believed the government of Belize had imposed the orders without considering the impacts it was having on the industry.
Neftali Verde, Sarteneja Fisher: “I see the best areas, and where we had our camps, are some of the best areas where conch and lobster spawn very quickly and the best fishing grounds are right there and they are putting reserves elsewhere and not the area that should be.
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Verde clarified that the fishing community supports the efforts made in the conservation of the marine ecosystem and the blue economy. However, they said they disagree with the way it is being managed as it now poses a threat to the livelihoods of Belizean fishermen. Antonio Arceo is also a fisherman from the village of Sarteneja and he says that these regulations will not only affect fishermen but also consumers.
Antonio Arceo, fisherman from Sarteneja: “Like you said. You mentioned why lobster is, and conch, the price is going up, right? Well, the price is going to go up for us because of the cost of gas, ice .
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: And operating expenses.
Antonio Arceo, fisherman from Sarteneja: “Yes we have on the boat. Then we have to raise salaries too, right?
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The angler group said the 0.5 ounce increase means a 40% loss of income for around 300 anglers and families.
Neftali Verde, Fisherman: “So imagine if you do, used to make $500 while traveling. With the 4.5 you will earn $300. You must pay $200 in expenses. You will stay with $100 for 10 days working hard. What are your kids going to eat if you have someone going to high school? Your return passage which is $30. What will happen with the fishermen? Those who are up there don’t know it because they have a fixed salary. We don’t have a fixed salary. I believe that for the government, we are nothing. We are like the Lionfish. We invade everywhere. But the lionfish has great value, even though it is poisonous. To the right? So the fishermen, they feel the same. They just push them out by putting reserves and increasing the ounces on the products and everything, but we have no alternative. We understand. We need alternatives.
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Verde also said consultations with fishers and other community stakeholders regarding the implementation of the new regulations have not been done. The fishermen are convinced that the government must take into consideration the impact this will have on hundreds of families. Report for Love News, Giovanna Moguel.